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Itinerary Recommendation - Grand Circle Tour

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Itinerary Recommendation - Grand Circle Tour

We live in San Francisco Bay Area, and are thinking of a grand circle tour sometime within one year. It is going to be just my husband and myself for now -- may see if any friend wants to come along (assume no kids).

We can either try to do it around a holiday to save a vacation day (Memorial Day, Independence Day) or not.

1. What time do you recommend visiting?

2. Do you recommend driving from SF, or just flying into Vegas?

3. Which places do you recommend? I know I want to go to Antelope for sure (love the way it looks in pictures). Will want to do Grand Canyon also (considering it is Grand Canyon). Other good ones seem to be Bryce and Zion.

4. How many nights per site do you recommend?

5. Any hotel recommendations?

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11 replies to this topic
Sedona, AZ
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for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
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1. Re: Itinerary Recommendation - Grand Circle Tour

Grand Canyon National Park needs 1-2 nights, Page needs 1 for Antelope Canyon, 2 if you want to do any of the aquatic tours on Lake Powell or in Glen Canyon, Bryce needs 1–2 and Zions needs 2-4. These are minimums.

If you plan to travel around a holiday weekend, you need to book your lodging reservations RIGHT NOW. I would choose Memorial Day for cooler weather.

Personally, I'd fly to LV and rent a car to do the loop. Driving will require a couple extra days. JMO.

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Antelope Canyon
Antelope Canyon
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Page, AZ
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2. Re: Itinerary Recommendation - Grand Circle Tour

Thanks for your quick reply!

How does something like this look? The times are obviously very roughly estimated. And Wave is dependent on if we manage to get the advance permit or not.

Also, which direction do you recommend? Clockwise or counter-clockwise?

Grand Canyon - 2 nights (14 hrs touring time)

Page - 2 nights (12 hrs touring time)

Bryce - 2 nights (8 hrs touring time)

Zion - 2 nights (14 hrs touring time)

Day 1 - drive to Zion, stay at Zion

Day 2 - tour Zion (8 hrs), stay at Zion

Day 3 - tour Zion (6 hrs), drive to Bryce (2 hrs), stay at Bryce

Day 4 - tour Bryce (8 hrs), stay at Bryce

Day 5 - drive to Wave (3 hrs), tour Wave (4 hrs), drive to Page (1 hr), stay at Page

Day 6 - tour Antelope/Horseshoe Bend (8 hrs), stay at Page

Day 7 - drive to Grand Canyon (2 hrs), tour Grand Canyon (6 hrs), stay at Grand Canyon

Day 8 - tour Grand Canyon (8 hrs), stay at Grand Canyon

Day 9 - drive back

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Sedona, AZ
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3. Re: Itinerary Recommendation - Grand Circle Tour

Add 30-50% to your drive time estimates. Add another hour or two for the Wave, (on the way outside chance that you score permits). Most rental cars can't make it to the Wire Pass trailhead for the Wave. High clearance is a must. 4WD is often required. Most rental car agreements prohibit driving the road.

Direction doesn't really matter, but could be determined by where and when you can find lodging. Have you looked yet?

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4. Re: Itinerary Recommendation - Grand Circle Tour

Aah, good to know about Wave (I know the chance of scoring permit seems reallly slim).

Just booked Thunderbird Lodge @ Grand Canyon village from Jun 1st-3rd. Will keep an eye out for Bright Angel Lodge.

What other lodging is hardest to find? Any recommendations? I remember reading somewhere that lodging outside the Bryce/Zion park is better than inside. Is that true?

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Sedona, AZ
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5. Re: Itinerary Recommendation - Grand Circle Tour

Lodge inside Bryce is best. Book it now if you can. Otherwise choose one of the Rubys Hotels just outside the park.

For Zions, we usually recommend staying in Springdale, just outside the park, since that's where all the services are. You'll be there everyday anyway. We like Desert Pearl

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Desert Pearl Inn
Desert Pearl Inn
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Springdale, UT
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6. Re: Itinerary Recommendation - Grand Circle Tour

Lodge inside Bryce doesn't seem to be available.. Will book Ruby's Inn.. Any recommendations for Page? Thank you!

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Sedona, AZ
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7. Re: Itinerary Recommendation - Grand Circle Tour

Days Inn, Comfort Inn, Quality Inn all seem to be popular.

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8. Re: Itinerary Recommendation - Grand Circle Tour

Thank you for all your help!

Just booked all hotels (refundable):

Zion - Desert Pearl Inn

Bryce - Best Western Plus Ruby’s Inn

Page - Courtyard Page at Lake Powell

Grand Canyon - Thunderbird Lodge (will keep looking for Bright Angel Lodge)

Is there anything else that needs to be booked in advance and is hopefully refundable?

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Desert Pearl Inn
Desert Pearl Inn
2,822 Reviews
Springdale, UT
Courtyard Page at Lake Powell
Courtyard Page at Lake...
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Page, AZ
Thunderbird Lodge
Thunderbird Lodge
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Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
Salt Lake City, Utah
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9. Re: Itinerary Recommendation - Grand Circle Tour

If you are planning on doing a tour of one of the Antelope Canyons near Page AZ, you need to book a tour in advance.

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Page
Page
Arizona
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10. Re: Itinerary Recommendation - Grand Circle Tour

Aah, got it.. I am torn between upper and/or lower antelope canyon.. Any recommendations for tour companies (there seem to be a ton online)? Also, we like to take good photographs, but are not crazyyy about good photographs. Do you recommend scenic vs photographic tour?

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